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Nikos Katsaounis: A Soulful Portrait
The director discusses rediscovering Greece and the creative process of multimedia filmmaking

Selected by the 2012 Hot Docs film festival, Krisis has received critical acclaim for it’s soulful documentation of a country brought to its knees by financial ruin. Krisis fuses material collected from the filming of The Prism GR2011, a multimedia project founded by Nikos Katsaounis and Nina Maria Paschalidou that documented, through the lenses of 14 photojournalists, lives and a country affected by crippling debt.

Toronto Standard spoke with Athens-born filmmaker Nikos Katsaounis to discuss the filmmaking process.

What motivated you personally to create this film? 

We have been living abroad for quite a long time, but after the Greek riots in 2008 and 2009, Nina and I felt that we had lost a connection with our country. After so many years living in the States, I wanted to rediscover Greece, and really understand what was going on there. It had also come a time in our careers where we wanted to experiment with a new process. It was really an excuse to come back to Greece during this critical time, and explore its history.

What was your biggest challenge during the filmmaking process?

There was really no precedent. There had never been anything like this before, so there was no one to mimic and a lot of the people involved in the process had no experience with video. We underestimated the size of work required. Pulling all the different parts of the puzzle was certainly the most difficult challenge.

Was there a specific goal in mind while creating Krisis?

Neither of us had a specific endeavor or agenda. Our objective was to make sure what was happening was documented and explored. 

Have you shown your film in Greece? 

We showed it at the Thessoloniki film festival in March, and we plan on screening it on television in Greece. It is also likely we’ll screen Krisis at an independent theatre in Athens.

How has your film been received so far? Has there been any contention, or especially-strong reactions?

The film is about a very sensitive subject so people feel very passionately about it. We have received feedback from those from all along the spectrum. Some feel we represented a variety of different perspectives fairly, and others felt certain perspectives were highlighted more than others. For the most part, people have really liked it, both internally in Greece and externally – Greeks and non-Greeks alike.

After the recent election in Greece, do you believe Greece is going in the right direction?

It doesn’t look very promising, but it is too early to tell. I think what is most problematic right now is that the marginal left and right parties have gained significant popularity, and the more moderate voices have been fading away. 

Any future plans with your footage of Greece or with any other projects to come?

We presently focusing on The Prism and the distribution of Krisis, but we are looking into another project that involves Greece…but not exclusively. It will focus on southern Europe in general. 

The full documentary Krisis is available online at ThePrism.tv.


Nikos Katsaounis & Nina Pashalidou give talk at TEDxThessaloniki about: The Prism: Storytelling in a time of crisis


Joanna Tsanis writes about culture and comics for the Toronto Standard. Follow her on Twitter at‏ @jopoolt

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